just because students are asked to do a complex performance does not mean that any real transfer is demanded. If the task is completely scripted by a teacher – say, memorizing a poem, performing a Chopin Prelude that one has practiced many times, with coaching, or writing a formulaic 5-paragraph essay – then there is no transfer of learning taking place. Transfer only is demanded and elicited when there is some element of novelty in the task and thus strategic thought and judgment is required by the performer.
If you only can recall and state something you don’t really understand it. You have to be able to explain and justify its meaning and applicability – a Meaning goal – and you also have to be able to apply it into settings where it is needed, without being prompted to do so or shown exactly how to do so – Transfer.
Grant Wiggins via http://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/a-clarification-of-the-goal-of-transfer-and-how-it-relates-to-testing